Define your brand story to reach Millennials

September 24, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

By Jen Johnston

If your brand is trying to reach people in their 20s and 30s and you are still asking the question “Can a brand have a personality?”, then you may be missing the bigger picture. The idea that a brand can have a personality goes without saying; in fact, a brand must have an authentic personality in order to survive in a world where the biggest generation of customers identifies with the products they consume. “Fifty percent of U.S. Millennials ages 18 to 24 and 38% of those ages 25 to 34 agree that brands ‘say something about who I am, my values, and where I fit in.’”

It is unlikely that your product’s features and benefits alone are saying something to your target user about who they are and where they fit in the world. It’s your brand platform (your story, your personality) that does that. And your story isn’t the messaging of a particular ad campaign. Your story isn’t your product’s features and benefits…at least not alone. Your story is your story. Ad messaging can support your story, but your story is so much bigger than a campaign.

Some brand managers think about the demographic they’d like to reach and think “how can my brand target them?” It’s simple – just think of your brand as a person with personality traits.

Identify your brand’s current personality and make sure it resonates with the demographic you are serving or want to serve. Very few products can be all things to all demographics. You have to whittle it down.

Ask yourself: What age is my brand? What does my brand like to do in its spare time? Would people in my target demographic be friends with my brand if it were a person? Is my brand friendly? Edgy? Easy-going? A fashionista? An 18-year-old college freshman? A crunchy mom?

Don’t have a distinct personality? No one wants to interact with a doorknob or a wallflower – person or brand! So, please develop one. Perform a comprehensive SWOT analysis on your competitors that includes their personality and story they are telling through their advertising, social media initiatives, and packaging. Then look for the gaps – could your personality fit there?

millennialsOnce you’ve nailed down your brand’s personality, don’t simply promote your brand to your target demographic, network with them and form relationships that have a more “person-to-person” than a “brand-to-person” feel. Your personality must be authentic – your staff has to live it. Millennials will sniff out an imposter.

Once they develop a real relationship with your brand, millennials are more inclined to be loyal to your products. However, be flexible in adapting your story as the masses change. Researchers with Adroid media reported at that “52% [of millennials] say brands must be willing to change based on customer opinion if they want to be relevant.”

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